Another beautiful setting for rugby was had on Saturday, the field was nicely lined and the weather was perfect. The home pitch showing the scars of hundreds of cleats running up and down it since September was looking rough, but really all a player needed to be concerned about was the “sand” the city had placed on bare areas of the pitch which felt and had the texture of gravel.
Nonetheless with three games on the schedule for the Beavers that day it would be another busy one at Sullivan Heights. First off, the Beavers would host the Kats RFC, then the Scribes RFC, and finally border neighbours the Brit Lions Rugby Club. Three games and three different clubs coming for a visit made for a diverse day of rugby for the Beavers. Saturday would be the Beavers’ first ‘tryfesta’ of 2017 with 28 tries scored in 3 games.
SBAA 3rd Division Men – Win 38-3
The Thirsty Thirds knew going into the game on Saturday that they were going to be in tough against a Kats rugby team that has held the advantage over the Beavers in their last few visits. The men at practice this last week dusted off a tough loss against UBC and focused on improving their attack and defense. Their effort at training during the week reflected well in the score line on Saturday. The game was opened with a barrage of penalties against the Beavers, sending them backward and stopping all forward momentum they had. It wasn’t long before veteran forward James Stroud earned a yellow card, demonstrating the correct way to execute a high tackle. Playing down one man, the Beavers held off the opposition attack time and again, until as luck would have it, the Kats were awarded a yellow card and the playing field was balanced. With equal opportunity, the Beavers took advantage with a series of crashing forward pods ending with center Jordan Sousa punching through the Kats’ defense and putting the Beavers in the lead. The Kats struggled offensively through the first half thanks to the relentless efforts from young and eager forwards Darian Archer and Mike Duffill. Both Beavers demonstrated their exceptional defensive abilities during the match.
The second half had changes in the scrum as both locks and loose forwards was swapped out. Coming into the game lock James Pedersen would add some much appreciated veteran expertise to the line outs. The Beavers had played more offense than they had seen in their previous match, and they really looked like they enjoyed that. Big plays were made by the always exciting Derrek Halicki as he motivated his fellow backs and applied pressure to the Kats. The match had a solid game defensively by the Beavs and they held the gritty Kats to only 3 points. Spreading the ball out-wide proved successful on more than one occasion for winger Mitch Robertson as he gripped the ball in one hand and found his way to the try line not once, but twice.
The Beaver’ scrum demonstrated great depth of capable forwards available having changed out five forwards before the end of the game while not losing a step in the scrum. Dan Leigh made his weekly appearance mixing quality rugby and weekend family time with his brother Jason. The heavy set Leigh brothers are always a good duo to lead up front in the sets. The 3rd division boys should be proud with a great win on the day and starting the Beavers’ game day off on the right foot.
The men won’t rest easy at training this week as they play the always tough Chilliwack Crusaders this Saturday.
Tries: James Stroud (2) Mitch Roberston (2) Jordan Sousa (1) Derrek Halicki (1)
Man of the Match: Mike Duffill was best forward, and best back was Mitch Roberstson.
SBAA 2nd Division Men – Win 60-3
The 2nd div side was ready for another big game on Saturday against the Scribes RFC. It was the first time in a long time that they had the opportunity to play the Scribes at the 2nd division level. The Beavs as of late have played the Scribes at the 3rd division level, with good balanced games had in the recent past between the two clubs at that level. This day however would heavily lean in the favor of the Beavers’ side that were very dominant. Younger, fitter and better drilled the Beavers took it to the Scribes for a full 80 minutes. There were some fantastic scoring plays throughout the entire 80 minutes, and the Beavers used their more mobile backs to weave around the on average larger and older Scribes’ players. There were some fantastic set pieces that allowed standoff Dylan Tatomir to give good ball to his backline specifically to his centers. Alex Martin who got a hat trick last weekend on the wing was a great fit with veteran center Jeff Bergunder, the two worked very well off each other. Jareed Samuel used his speed on the sideline to dance three tries in himself and clearly if you’d like to score tries you should request to play on the div 2 wing. Marcus Tam almost matched Jareed and scored 2 tries on the opposite wing too. Joey Murphy and Ryan Mitchell the two seasoned locks touched down the offensive tries for the pack. What was once a young inexperienced side at div 2 has now become a seasoned team with plenty of depth. There are now players that are deep in the ranks willing to come in on a moment’s notice allowing the starting 2nd div men to play as hard as they can. As players filed off the field in the 2nd half some of the reserve players got in on the tryfesta. Both Brandon Gatto and Jamahl Knowles got on the field and scored two beauty tries, showing the coaching staff that they are capable at playing at the 2nd div level. The game was quickly in control of the Beavers and they did an outstanding job managing the pace of play early on and throughout the entire 80 minutes. The fans were truly in for a treat watching Beavers touching down for tries on average every 10 minutes.
The front row was looking strong in the scrums with Aaron Viola flanked with Ryan Kulasekare and Nolan Spalek at tight and loose head. The three of them created a great base for the other 5 forwards in the pack to push against in the scrums. Aaron’s throws were on target all throughout the game in the line outs which was great to see too. Iain Small not the largest eighth-man in the league made up for his size with great strength and speed in the open field. Iain did a great job drawing Scribes’ players in and then darting through them. The pack is looking stronger every game and this Saturday was proof of that. Like a well-oiled machine the Beavers executed very well on Saturday and the score line reflected that.
This Saturday the Beavers head out to King George Park to take on Richmond RFC. Richmond unable to field two teams in the Fall against the Beavers should not be taken lightly as they have been a force to reckon with in the not so distant past. The Beavers however will go into Richmond hungry for more tries and another big W.
Tries: Alex Martin (1) Jareed Samuel (3) Marcus Tam (2) Joey Murphy (1) Ryan Mitchell (1) Jamahl Knowles (1) and Brandon Gatto (1)
Man of the Match: Best forward was Ryan Kulasekare and best back was Marcus Tam.
SBAA 1st Division Men – Win 70-0
The 1st div men were ready to strike back and get their season rolling this last Saturday. After a tough loss against Bayside the weekend before, the boys were looking for a big bounce back. The side had some injuries happen in that first game back in their forward pack, and still had some 1st div regulars missing from the lineup for this Saturday match. Nonetheless the coaches were confident that this weekend the men would play with a little more fire in their belly.
Watching the game that was played on Saturday it really was looking more and more like the Beavers team that confidently took the Fall Cup championship. The Beavers finally looked like they had awoken from their winter slumber and were ready to play some rugby. The game turned out to be a track meet for the Beavers, who got to show off their speed, strength, kicking ability and ball handling skills to their delighted fans. The men slowly built from a simple game of rugby to an entire field attack, and it worked out very well. 2nd division regular Dylan Vermette got the bump up to hooker and he did not disappoint with some fantastic line out throws. Flankers Giuseppe Lagrutta and Paul Kelly were busy cleaning up rucks, and doing the dirty work throughout the majority of the game. While eighth-man James Kelly, lock Trevor Sear, and loose head prop Chris Atkinson went on punishing offensive runs to keep the Brits on their back foot most of the game. The pack came together in the scrums and absolutely dominated the Brits from the first to last set of the game.
The backs were night and day better in Saturday’s game than the previous weekend’s game. There was quality runs by inside center Clay Ross who ran in 4 tries himself, and heavy set winger Aaron Martin. The two players knocked down Brit players out wide like they were bowling pins throughout the game. Ryno Jacobs did well starting at standoff until star back Jamie Beaton relieved him later in the first half. Both players did an excellent job putting calculated kicks into space and putting pressure on the Brits. Brothers Tyler and Riley Johnson used their speed to easily finish off team tries out wide and get everyone off their butts to cheer for their Beavs.
The side was relentless in their attack and kept pounding the gain line with their boys until the final whistle. It was great to see the team play like they did and it would be great to see this style of play in the remainder of their games. There are still plenty of games left to play and lots of league points to make up from week one’s loss. The men will take a sigh of relief knowing they got their mojo back, but won’t rest easy knowing they have Abbotsford RFC coming up on the schedule. The men haven’t had the opportunity to play Abbotsford since their OT loss to them in the provincial finals last Spring season. This should be a fantastic game and a fantastic club day.
On one final note the club would like to thank Scribes’ club member Josh Knight for stepping up and refereeing the division 1 game after he played in the 2nd division game that same day. Josh did a fantastic job refereeing the game even though he had a bag of ice on his knee most of the time and he truly exemplified how to be a great club rugby man on any given Saturday! Cheers Josh.
Tries: James Kelly (2) Riley Johnson (2) Clay Ross (4) James Bailey (1) Aaron Martin (1) Jamie Beaton (1) Alex Martin (1)
Man of the Match: Best forward was Dylan Vermette, and best back was Riley Johnson.